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Are Immigrants the Most Skilled U.S. Computer and Engineering Workers?

In: US High-Skilled Immigration in the Global Economy

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  • Jennifer Hunt

Abstract

Using the American Community Surveys, I examine the wages of immigrant computer and engineering workers. Immigrants' higher education gives them a wage advantage over natives, an advantage larger for computer than for engineering workers, and larger in occupation-based samples than in education-based samples. Among holders of engineering degrees, immigrants earn less than natives, penalized by a high return to English proficiency. The results suggest that imperfect English may reduce their occupational advancement, or an unobserved factor may reduce both occupational advancement and the incentive to perfect English. In all samples, top immigrants from the highest-income countries far outearn top natives.
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Suggested Citation

  • Jennifer Hunt, 2012. "Are Immigrants the Most Skilled U.S. Computer and Engineering Workers?," NBER Chapters,in: US High-Skilled Immigration in the Global Economy, pages 39-77 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:13241
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chiswick, Barry R. & Miller, Paul W., 2008. "Why is the payoff to schooling smaller for immigrants?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1317-1340, December.
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 147-186.
    3. Akee, Randall K. Q. & Yuksel, Mutlu, 2008. "A Note on Measures of Human Capital for Immigrants: Examining the American Community Survey and New Immigrant Survey," IZA Discussion Papers 3897, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, July.
    5. Giovanni Peri & Chad Sparber, 2011. "Highly Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(3), pages 385-411, July.
    6. Abdurrahman Aydemir & Mikal Skuterud, 2005. "Explaining the deteriorating entry earnings of Canada's immigrant cohorts, 1966 - 2000," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 641-672, May.
    7. Joseph Schaafsma & Arthur Sweetman, 2001. "Immigrant earnings: age at immigration matters," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1066-1099, November.
    8. Giovanni Peri & Kevin Shih & Chad Sparber, 2016. "STEM Workers, H-1B Visas, and Productivity in US Cities," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 9, pages 277-307 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    9. Hunt, Jennifer & Garant, Jean-Philippe & Herman, Hannah & Munroe, David J., 2013. "Why are women underrepresented amongst patentees?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 831-843.
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    Cited by:

    1. Diego USECHE & Ernest MIGUELEZ & Francesco LISSONI, 2019. "Highly skilled and well connected: Migrant inventors in Cross-Border M&As," Cahiers du GREThA 2019-03, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée(GREThA).
    2. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2015. "Skilled Immigration and the Employment Structures of US Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(S1), pages 147-186.
    3. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2016. "Immigrant Entrepreneurship," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Entrepreneurial Businesses: Current Knowledge and Challenges, pages 187-249 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Francesco LISSONI, 2016. "Migration and Innovation Diffusion : An Eclectic Survey," Cahiers du GREThA 2016-11, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée(GREThA).
    5. repec:eee:respol:v:48:y:2019:i:5:p:1248-1259 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Edward P. Lazear, 2017. "Why Are Some Immigrant Groups More Successful than Others?," NBER Working Papers 23548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr & Tina Xu, 2017. "Personality Traits of Entrepreneurs: A Review of Recent Literature," NBER Working Papers 24097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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